Trump Sets The Record Straight

Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

In an interview with Fox News’s Sean Hannity, former President Donald Trump claimed Presidents can declassify documents “even by thinking about it.”

Trump made these remarks amid assertions all the documents seized by the FBI from his Mar-a-Lago residence were declassified, claiming there didn’t have to be a process when a President declassified a document.

The former President claimed, “There doesn’t have to be a process, as I understand it, ” explaining that “If you’re the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying, ‘It’s declassified.’ Even by thinking about it.”

Trump reiterated remarks a process wasn’t necessary, saying, “There can be a process, but there doesn’t have to be.”

He then described the power the President has “You’re the President. You make that decision. So when you send it, it’s declassified.”

Trump reasserted his earlier claims, “I declassified everything.”

But Trump’s rendition of declassifying records contradicts the intelligence communities description of what happens when a document is declassified — even when the action is taken by the President.

According to intelligence agencies that manage these records, declassifying them sets off a chain of events, requiring intelligence agencies to take additional steps.

But despite this description of how documents are declassified, Trump and many of his allies are adamant the former President declassified all the documents retrieved at his Mar-a-Lago home before leaving Office in 2020.

In a filing last week Trump’s attorney also mentioned the declassification but stopped short of asserting Trump declassified the documents, an, omission the DOJ picked up on its own filings.